Thursday, February 07, 2008

A new addiction to BEADS!!!

As a number of you know, I recently received my Harmony knitting needles from KnitPicks. I love them and don't think I'll ever knit with anything again. I only found one issue...the beauty of the Harmonies demanded something more than the tired little plastic rings and waste yarn I used to use as stitch markers.

SO, what is a self-respecting crafter to do? Learn a new trick or two and design something deserving. So I did. I have searched catalouges and the internet far and wide to find something pretty. Many of the offerings were so beautiful, but a bit beyond my meagre crafting budget. I thought to myself and pondered about what to do. I said "Self, you can do this on your own!"

I have been busy creating "sets" of knitterly companions and accessories that have become quite popular in my circle. The black and white set is for my sister (a crocheter not in need of stitch markers but appreciative of matching earrings). These little accessories work up so quickly and are such fun. They are practical and beautiful and even serve to satisfy my sense of "instant gratification. What more could one ask for?

Then I designed one for myself in one of my favourite colours, pink. The matching stitch markers are indicative of the upcoming St. Valentine's day celebrations and of one of my beloved causes, breast cancer. The markers adorn my latest project and are serving my needs well.

Then, I met an online friend who wished to trade her KnitPicks Binder for something. I offered up my version of the row counter and stitch markers in her favourite colours - oceanic blues and greens. I surely hope she enjoys them.

Finally, let me say that, although this new addiction to beading is fun and rewarding and challenging, it only has one issue. It is taking time away from my knitterly pursuits! But all is good in my world as it certainly enhances and beautifies the process of knitting. Who could complain about that?

I encourage all of you to head to your local bead store (or dollar store) grab some wire, some pretty trinkets and let your creativity carry you away :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

This week was a very busy week in my universe. But the one bright spot was meeting up with new friends. We held a mini S'n'B at the regular place and time. Since Melissa was kind enough to host an "Escape the Super Bowl Mania" potluck S'n'B at her home, those of us who couldn't quite make it out decided to meet up for a shortened more compressed Knit and Knatter. I'm hoping that Melissa will also be kind enough to update the world on the Potluck S'n'B through her own Live Journal blog. Keep checking for updates.

Gale, Jan, Jeannie, Mary and I had a great time updating each other on the states of our projects and the goings ons in our worlds since last we met. With deadlines looming some our knitting time has been drastically reduced. However, we were able to progress quite nicely on other projects.

The Pirate Booty Bag remains to be a work in progress. Socks are flying off the needles and baby items are being produced at lightening speed, with hopes of finishing on time for the impending arrival of the bundles of joy. Mary is near completion on the Baby Surprise Jacket and My Presto Chango sweater is just about complete. Jan is hard at work on some beautiful "Snowflake" socks and the shrug keeps making an appearance.

So what have we been up to for the past week. The Harmonies have been hard at work! The lustre has not worn, the novelty remains fresh and the joy they provide cannot be described within the confines of our language. The beauty and quality speaks for itself. My first Harmony sock is entitled JayWalker (which I found on Ravelry). The zig zag patter is created by a series of increases and decreases across the patterning rows. Other than that, this sock is formed by using your favourite sock recipe. Sometimes I marvel at how the simplest things can be so interesting and pleasing to the eye.

Due to the lure of the socks, my other inaugural Harmony project, Double Play Raglan Cardigan from the Top Down Sweater Book, by Doreen Marquart, has not received much attention. However, rest assured, it won't reside in the WIP basket for long and will soon be growing by the stitch as the JayWalker sock and Presto Chango projects are completed. For now it is perfectly happy to be resting upon the Harmonies.

Speaking of the Harmonies and their beauty...I've discovered a new addiction this week. Let me first say that the beauty of the Harmonies do not deserve to be dulled. My collection of stitch markers consists of little plastic rings that rest upon the needles. Although they are practical and serve their station in life well, they do not seem right on the Harmonies. For beauty deserves beauty, right? What does a self respecting crafter do?

Why we search for something better, we journey to the land of inspiration and then we set to work. After hours of reviewing knitting catalouges and the internet and seeing the numerous options out there, I finally found some beaded stitch markers that would certainly compliment the beauty of the Harmonies. However, they were quite pricey (a set of 6 cost anywhere from $20.00 to $40.00!) Well, my pockets are not that deep.

So, I searched some more and found a number of tutorials on how to create this knitterly notions on my own. I found an excellent site, created by a GUY knitter , Michael Cook, (I knew they were out there!) who takes us through the process step by step in a practical manner. This is what I came up with! the pink hearts and shoes are my own hommage to Breast Cancer Research and the hearts are in honour of upcoming St. Valentine's Day. I'm sure the coming weeks will see more postings and pictures showing off my daughter's creativity and my ingenuity in learning a new trick of the trade.

A small trip to Dollarama, Walmart and a quick perusal of Michael's offerings set my daughter and I up with the tools and supplies to make hundreds of little beauties, and it cost much less than $40.00!

While searching for the Stitch Marker tutorials, I found a gem of an adornment that provides both beauty and practicality. I came across a Row Counter Beaded Bracelet and just had to give it a go too. These knitterly notions work like an Abacus (by pushing beads back and forth to keep track of competed rows, stitches or repeats). While beading up my new treasures, it occurred to me that the Bracelet and Markers could match a set of hand beaded earrings too! The possibilities are endless. A set could be made to match the yarn of the project. They could be created and given to knitterly friends as gifts. Their construction would certainly provide hours of entertainment and a creative outlet for the children of the house. Yes, beading has now been added to my repertoire of addictions. Trust me, if I can accomplish this, so can you. And I do hope all of you give the beading a go and create your own treasures...doesn't your knitting deserve to feel pretty too?

So that's the update for this week. We hope to see everyone next week at:

MacKenzie Cole's Coffee
Corner of Gray Avenue and Central Avenue (Sutherland)
Saskatoon, SK
Sunday February 10, 2008
2 pm